Friday, February 23, 2007

Design Programs

Geek Alert! Non-geeks may skip down to the FO below. I’ve got two programs installed today, one old and one new. I had an old version 4 of WeaveIt that came on floppy disks. (Yes, that old.) I no longer have a floppy drive on this computer. So after emailing programmer Sally Breckenridge about it, I ended up having to find somebody who could take it from the floppies and transfer the files to my computer in some way. Dear T-Man did it at work for me but first he tried to email them to me and his MS Exchange wiped out the .exe file. So he had to put them on work’s FTP server for me to download. Good thing he’s able to do that or I’d still be hunting down someone with both a floppy drive and a CD burner, surprisingly not a common combination anymore. I also downloaded the demo of version 5 just for interest sake but I’m not in the market to purchase another piece of weaving software when I’ve barely picked up a shuttle in 5 years. I almost always use PCW Silver instead anyway. I’ve been using this program since it was a DOS version on my first PC. Haven’t installed the demo of WeaveIt 5 yet.

My next issue was a beading design program. Like WeaveIt, I have a copy of Bead Pattern Designer on floppy disks. However I don’t like this program. It is quirky and unintuitive and hasn’t been updated in yonks. So I decided to go looking for something else to use for this purpose. I was first leaning towards Bead Creator though I was somewhat annoyed that you had to pay for shipping and wait until the disk arrived because they don’t have a way to download it. With my luck I’d have to pay duty and GST on top of it all. I had heard some good things about it and some kind of iffy things so I wasn’t leaping into something that could cost me $100 Canadian when all is said and done.

So the hunt was on for another program and I found BeadTool. Much cheaper, demo version that unlocks once you’ve paid up, intuitive, on-line manual and tutorials and I love the way it deals with bringing in a graphic file and making a bead pattern from it. You can drag the grid over the picture until you get it where you want it, choose how many bead colours to translate it into and “assimilate” it. Too cool. I might actually use this feature. It exports to a number of file formats and can print a word pattern as well as chart and a bead shopping list. This program is light-years ahead of my old Bead Pattern Designer and about 1/3 the price. Hmmm…I can see another software purchase in my near future. Does that mean I have to do some beadwork now too? Can’t I just play with the software instead?

Non-geeks can come back now. Finished Object show-and-tell time! See how nicely my new hat goes with my wristwarmers?

Penelope Beret

Begun: January 16, 2007
Completed: February 22, 2007

Yarn: Black/Fall, handspun 2-ply, fingering weight, 1 ply black/1 ply handpainted fall colours.
Beads: size 6º Czech seed beads, transparent bronze AB, approx. 2.5 strands from hank.
Needles: Aero aluminum 2.25 mm 16” circular and set of 4 dpns.

Pattern: Based on my Penelope Wristlets, which in turn is based on Donna Druchunas’ Fish Trap Wrist Warmers in the book “Arctic Lace”. Beret shaping is based on the beret formulas in Ann Budd’s “The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns” . Worked out and charted using Knit Visualizer. I love working from a chart. Sorry that Blogger blurs it out too much to read.

Cast on 120 sts using long-tail method. Reverse so that purl side of knitting is out. Place marker at beg of round. Knit garter stitch in the round for 6 rows. Increase row: [k2, M1] 180 sts. Begin lace pattern (work chart 6 times). When at the crown decreases (R 41), place 11 more markers every 15 sts. Continue following chart, switching to dpns when knitting gets too small for circ. (Wasn’t necessary until R 61). When 6 sts remain (end of chart), knit 1 round. Then k2tog-tbl around again. 3 sts remaining. Work I-Cord on these stitches for ¾”. Break yarn. Thread needle and draw through last 3 sts. End yarns inside beret. Wet-block over 10” plate.

Comments: This beret looked all distorted and teensy when I finished the knitting but it blocked out beautifully. I don’t like too large of a beret, more the size of my old school tam and it’s that exactly. I was trying to make the crown decreases work with the lace pattern though I think it’s a bit more indistinguishable than I thought it would be. It looks just fine however. I’m very happy with my adaptation. Still have a ball of this handspun left. Though I’m kind of tired of knitting this lace pattern, at least for now.

What else? Carrying on with the Regia 6-ply socks just because they’re on the needles. They are pretty ugly so I just might overdye them when I’ve finished knitting. And starting to look seriously at my long-ignored Pomatomus socks. Poor little things. They’ve been hogging my Mystery Machine Lunchbox for way way too long. Time to finish so I can get on to other things and not feel them looking at me sadly. I actually like the pattern a lot. I just somehow consider socks as something to do while reading and I must concentrate on these things. No reading. So what is it with Cookie and her twisted stitches? I want to do her Monkey Socks with my new Trekking Pro Natura wool/bamboo yarn, but not with the twisted rib. It seems like it should be tighter but it’s not as elastic as regular rib. I’m going to unvent a rib that segues into the Monkey pattern instead. Here’s hoping that they won’t become yet another Pomatomus (unfinished) or Jaywalker (frogged and never re-started) sock project.

I’m loving all the comments I’ve been getting lately! I might not reply but I read and contemplate every one. Thanks, Faithful Readers!


Nadia said...

Wow! I love the beads and the swirling design!

It's amazing how using handspun in this design really makes it look so rich in subtlety.

Anonymous said...

Ohhhh, Louisa, what a gorgeous set!
I haven't worn a tam since I was a child, but, lately, have been thinking about knitting one. Being "Oh 50" is a wonderful place to be!.......

Anonymous said...

That is an absolutely stunning set. The beads are wonderful.